Coke versus Pepsi—one of the most popular rivalries in modern pop culture history. These two companies have been locked in an intense competition since the 1970s and 1980s when the term "cola wars" was derived. That's around the same time Pepsi came up with the Pepsi Taste Challenge, where marketers asked people to determine which brand they preferred in blind taste tests.

Both companies have a long history of delivering thirst-quenching drinks to consumers, as well as sweet returns for their investors. Read on to find out more about each company as well as their financials.

Key Takeaways

  • Coca-Cola increased its dividend for 55 consecutive years.
  • In February 2019, the company announced a dividend of 40 cents per share—a roughly 3.41% yield.
  • Pepsi declared a dividend of  0.9275 cents per share, an increase of 15.2% from the previous year.

Coca-Cola History

Coca-Cola held its initial public offering (IPO) in 1919 with the help of an underwriter, the Trust Company of Georgia, which is now known as SunTrust Banks. In expanding, it has stuck strictly to beverage buys, scooping up Costa Coffee, Minute Maid, and Honest Tea, among other brands.

Coca-Cola first traded under the symbol CCO but replaced it in 1923 with the current symbol, KO.

It is no surprise the world's largest beverage company offers hefty dividends and is part of that exclusive group of stocks known as dividend aristocrats. To be considered a dividend aristocrat, a company must have a managed dividend policy that has increased its dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years. The company first raised its dividend in 1963 and has continued to do so ever since.

Coca-Cola Performance 

The company announced in mid-2018 it raised its dividend again, making it 55 consecutive years it has done so. Not surprisingly, that startling fact places it squarely in the list of so-called dividend aristocrats. 

The quarterly dividend announced by Coca-Cola in February 2019 was 40 cents a share. That represents a yield of about 3.41%, roughly double the average dividend paid by consumer goods stocks.

In Q4 of 2018, the company reported net income of $870 million or 20 cents per share and revenue of $7.06 billion.

On April 18, 2018, KO ended the day at $47.48, up 20 cents on the day. It started 2018 at $46.93. Coca-Cola has a $203 billion market cap as of April 18, 2018.

Investors receive dividends in April, July, October, and December from Coca-Cola, while Pepsi pays investors dividends in January, March, June, and September.

Pepsi History

Pepsi (PEP), one of the Coca-Cola Company's main competitors, is also included in the coveted dividend aristocrats group.

It may get a little less credit than Coca-Cola in popular lore, but Pepsi has an equally colorful history. Invented in 1893 by a North Carolina druggist, it was originally called Brad's Drink. Its current name was adopted in 1898 and is a reference to the word dyspepsia, a common condition it was claimed Pepsi could cure.

If it hasn't out-sold Coke in the soft drinks category, Pepsi has competed strongly in its breadth of products—going beyond just soda pop. Throughout the years, it acquired brands including Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Quaker, and Tropicana.

Pepsi Dividend Policy Analysis

On Feb. 13, 2019, the company declared a quarterly dividend of 0.9275 cents per share, an increase of 15.2% from the previous year. That's a yield of about 3.03%. Pepsi has paid dividends in every consecutive quarter since 1965.

The company reported a net income $6.85 billion or $4.83 per share for the fourth quarter of 2018. Revenue came in at $19.52 billion.

On April 18, 2018, the company's stock closed at $127.09, a 0.06% increase for the day. The stock started the year at $109.28. PepsiCo had a market cap of $178.1 billion as of April 18, 2019.